Do most cancers survivors have cognitive impairment?


Before answering this question, it is helpful to put it in context. First, epidemiologists have observed a general increase in cancer survival in recent years, even for tumors with a poorer prognosis. However, there is a risk of paying the price of therapeutic intervention. We’re talking about chemo brains.

What is Chemo Brain?

Chemo brain is a Side effects in patients receiving chemotherapy and cancer survivors who are characterized by cognitive impairments with particular difficulty in processing information efficiently.

It is important to distinguish between cognitive impairment caused by certain neurotoxic chemotherapeutic agents and cognitive changes associated with central nervous system tumors.

How is there different types of chemotherapy there can be specific mechanisms of action diverse effects on the brain and consequently on the cognitive functions. Diagnosis is chemo brain, therefore, challenging, since clinical analysis of each individual patient is needed.

There is a Lack of criteria regarding tools who collect information to look for chemo-brains, such as blood tests, brain imaging, or the presence of numerous other symptoms (fatigue, anxiety, pain, anemia, etc.).

In summary, there is no consensus on the definition of the syndrome or phenotype (side effects of treatment) of the chemo-brain.

Common symptoms of the chemo brain

According to the MD Anderson Center, the symptoms of the chemo brain are:

    • Difficulty concentrating on a single task.
    • Short term memory problems such as forgetting details of recent events.
    • I feel mentally “slower” than usual.
    • Confusing dates and deadlines.

How do I encounter the chemo brain?

The goal is Minimize the adverse effects the treatment and Maximum cognitive function by maintaining brain health.

However, it is important Consider comorbidity and conditions like cancer-related fatigue or Sleep disorder.

There is evidence that optimizing cognitive functions is based on:

Chemo brain

  • Physical activity.
  • Management of cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Cognitive stimulation.
  • Environmental changes and Psychoeducation.


  1. Allemani C., Matsuda T., Di Carlo V., Harewood R., Matz M., Nikšić M., Bonaventure A., Valkov M., Johnson CJ, Estève J., Ogunbiyi OJ. Global Monitoring of Trends in Cancer Survival 2000-14 (CONCORD-3): Analysis of individual records for 37,513,025 patients diagnosed with one of 18 cancers from 322 population registers in 71 countries. The lancet. 2018, March 17th; 391 (10125): 1023-75.
  2. Wefel JS, Vardy J, Ahles T, Schagen SB. Recommendations of the International Cognition and Cancer Task Force to harmonize studies on cognitive function in cancer patients. The lancet oncology. 2011 Jul 1; 12 (7): 703- 8th.
  3. Ferguson RJ, Cassel AG, Dawson RF. Cognitive Effects of Cancer Chemotherapy in Adult Cancer Survivors: Cognitive Behavioral Management. Journal of rational-emotional and cognitive behavioral therapy. 2010 Mar 1; 28 (1): 25-25 41.
  4. Gehring K, Aaronson NK, Taphoorn MJ, Sitskoorn MM. Interventions for cognitive deficits in patients with a brain tumor: an update. Expert evaluation of cancer therapy. 2010 Nov 1; 10 (11): 1779-1. 95.

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Effects of Chemotherapy on the Brain: Chemobrain

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Effects of Chemotherapy on the Brain: Chemobrain


Researcher Pablo Cruz explains the effects of chemotherapy on the brain through a new concept, chemobrain.


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